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Open AccessArticle

Axonal Transport as an In Vivo Biomarker for Retinal Neuropathy

1
Department of Cancer Systems Imaging, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77054, USA
2
Department of Imaging Physics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA
3
Department of Neuroradiology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cells 2020, 9(5), 1298; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9051298
Received: 26 March 2020 / Revised: 17 May 2020 / Accepted: 18 May 2020 / Published: 22 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Cells of the Nervous System)
We illuminate a possible explanatory pathophysiologic mechanism for retinal cellular neuropathy by means of a novel diagnostic method using ophthalmoscopic imaging and a molecular imaging agent targeted to fast axonal transport. The retinal neuropathies are a group of diseases with damage to retinal neural elements. Retinopathies lead to blindness but are typically diagnosed late, when substantial neuronal loss and vision loss have already occurred. We devised a fluorescent imaging agent based on the non-toxic C fragment of tetanus toxin (TTc), which is taken up and transported in neurons using the highly conserved fast axonal transport mechanism. TTc serves as an imaging biomarker for normal axonal transport and demonstrates impairment of axonal transport early in the course of an N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA)-induced excitotoxic retinopathy model in rats. Transport-related imaging findings were dramatically different between normal and retinopathic eyes prior to presumed neuronal cell death. This proof-of-concept study provides justification for future clinical translation. View Full-Text
Keywords: retinal neuropathy; axonal transport; neural biomarker; ophthalmoscopy; glaucoma; macular degeneration; clinical translation retinal neuropathy; axonal transport; neural biomarker; ophthalmoscopy; glaucoma; macular degeneration; clinical translation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Le Roux, L.G.; Qiu, X.; Jacobsen, M.C.; Pagel, M.D.; Gammon, S.T.; Piwnica-Worms, D.R.; Schellingerhout, D. Axonal Transport as an In Vivo Biomarker for Retinal Neuropathy. Cells 2020, 9, 1298.

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